Somnambule - Writing About Music

GCTTATT ~ ampErase

Tones rise as if in takeoff, then burst into squiggles skirted by crackle and fuzz – this might be the sound of stunt-plane vapour trails if vapour trails were a form of musical annotation. After a merry moment of higgledy-piggledyness perspectives twist and that huge carrier plane you were worried about turns out to be a pollen-hungry bee a couple of feet away. A downward stream picks up just before impact with the ground and dashes off into the stratosphere, echoing as it goes. Siren Song For Kikuchiyo is a deck for departures and almost-arrivals, a host for risings and fallings, scatterings and hummings.
Angelheaded/Facetravel is heralded by busy noise, continues into something more workmanlike - squwiffling drain-diggings, hole-plungings, keeping the motor running and onto the next job, it could be the sound of a manic plumber navigating metal/lead/plastic drains, spraying away all manner of industrial effluent with shower nozzles, bathtaps, whatever comes to hand.

Signals, all of these sounds with their manic scurryings, their comings and goings – they might be signals spilling out of the ether, taking on lives of their own, some of them might even be wrenched and siphoned from our own dear planet.

A little more space creeps in – in both senses of the word, nightstars: planets, quasars, satellites, galaxies and the sonic space between them and our own little home (debris-ridden though it might be). R[Stacte] – what could that signify to this English speaker? The sound of it being spoken is the sound of an equation for creating stalacmites. The music is like a field of stalacmites caught in millenial stop-motion photography, rising and cracking and falling apart and rising again.

ampErase is littered with Martin Ng’s delicious record deck and cd scrapings, reversings, slivers and wipes - all giving up big, tactile sensations which are shadowed, responded to, led by Mathias Gmachi’s realtime data processing. There’s a pervasive sense of interaction not so frequently heard in standard electronica. At times its like riding a spectral funfair ride between galaxies while listening to radiowaves received via Jodrell Bank, Arecibo, Palomar.

U R The Sony Of My Life sees out the cd. A love song to everybody’s favourite multinational corporation. It’s the most straightforward track on ampErase. Which is saying nothing at all, but it does begin with a little almost-melody that might almost be hummed. Unfortunately the melody is jigged into non-existence by a road-drill, hung out of the window of a speeding car entering a very narrow tunnel and subjected to a variety of nuclear fission experiments. It’s an unfair contest and the love song loses.
Colin Buttimer
December 2003
Published by Milkfactory